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EPA grants $202 million loan to upgrade Baltimore's wastewater infrastructure

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Posted at 10:34 PM, Feb 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-26 08:16:38-05

BALTIMORE, Md. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator announced a $202 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the City of Baltimore.

Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler was joined by officials, including Mayor Catherine Pugh, at the City's Back River Neck Wastewater plant to share the news. The loan will aid the City of Baltimore in making upgrades to its old wastewater infrastructure.

“This WIFIA loan will help Baltimore modernize its wastewater infrastructure, protect human health, and prevent sewage and polluted runoff from entering the Chesapeake Bay,” said Wheeler.

The City reports that Baltimore’s current projects are estimated to cost $942 million. The EPA’s WIFIA loan will help finance more than 20 percent of the estimated cost leading up to $202 million. In addition to the loan, the Maryland Department of the Environment will finance about $280.5 million from its Water Quality Revolving Loan Fund and about $47.5 million from the Bay Restoration Grant Fund.

“Our water and wastewater customers have been required to shoulder the burden of paying for these long overdue and essential improvements,” said Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. “Making these critical investments is not only long-overdue, but vital to Baltimore becoming a truly 21st Century City. We are grateful to the EPA for this low-interest loan that will assist us in managing effectively the significant costs associated with our infrastructure improvement efforts.”

Officials say the WIFIA and the MDE loan program offer low interest rates, and believe the WIFIA loan will save the City up to $40 million.

EPA’s WIFIA loan will help the City of Baltimore complete 14 projects that include a series of repairs and upgrades across its large wastewater conveyance system.